The Empty Dotted Line

You never signed up for this,
I know. But neither did I.
The fact you’re a part of this
one and that and who knows
how many more of my fragments
of lives lived and unlived,
loved and unloved, shouldn’t
leave you too surprised.
You lurk in the shadow places
my memory can’t fully illuminate,
the wells once full of possibility
of what could have been love, back
when love actually meant something.
But I stumbled, mumble-mouthed,
in my one chance to connect while
my words carried might, but not
the light for you to find my
dotted line.

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Hopeless

He said it may not always
have been so hopeless,
though hopeless is what
it always became.
The timing wasn’t right,
or maybe it was the light
he never saw shining from
her standing before him.
He went his way, or
she went hers, and
they ended up estranged
in their own strange ways.
When I asked why, he shook
his head and sighed,
their ships having sailed,
even passing in the night,
when he often thinks of her
and she, once, of him.
He tosses his way saying “It’s…”
She turns hers, with, “He’s…”
Each punctuating their
exclamations with
“Hopeless.”

No Regrets, Just One Surrender

When they finally discover my bones —
should the occasion ever arise
that a future someone stumbles upon me
while clearing a plot for Hydrangeas,
tomatoes or more bones —
when they crack through and find
the cracks I’ve put in this
old skeleton, will they wonder
what this being did to collect so many
breaks in his framing pieces?
Will they see the two scarred ribs
and know that each happened in
a different winter of my discontent?
Will they wonder over the dents and
cracks in the skull, and think it was
the castle keep of a warrior’s mind?
Or that of a poet who always tried playing
above his program weight, usually failed,
but never failed to try again?
I wonder if they’ll see my family placed
my coach’s whistle around my neck,
my tablet in one hand and this secret optimist’s
(broken) fingers crossed one upon the other?
What they won’t find will be any markers
of regret on this old fossil for any
of this busted crockery of mine left behind.
I gladly earned each and every one of them.

Day 26 of NaPoWriMo calls for a poem about what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us. I took that prompt it right down to the bones. My bones.

Conspiracy to Commit

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If not a high crime
it surely was a misdemeanor
he relived along with
his fantastic projections
based on what-if and if-only.
But the five-and-dimer
never made his big score,
only cased the joint,
admired the merchandise
and drew closer and closer
in a tightening coil
until he choked on
the perfume of the object
of his obsession.
He sighs, replaying
all the times he coulda
and shoulda. But it was
his heart ending up
her stolen property.
In its place he keeps
the faded Wanted poster
to keep him warm while
doing life in solitary.

Another mashed-up metaphor strung out over 100 words in what might be an anti-Valentine’s Day poem. But really, it’s a love poem in its own way.

Close and Content

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You’d think otherwise, wouldn’t you,
but sleep has never come easy for me.
Not the tucked-in for the night sleep,
not the snuggled close and content sleep.
Mine is the toss and turn sleep,
the stare at the ceiling dark so long
my eyes adjust to see shadows you’d
never see. Shadows I don’t wish to.
I’d never wake you to tell what I see.
I can’t. If I reach right or left
all I can feel is empty.

Covers twisted and fallen, I turn over
and tell my pillow, but a pillow
will only echo what you lay upon it,
no spontaneity or warmth other than
what I put into it. And still,
sleep evades me, or teases me with
a veiled unconsciousness that lasts
maybe an hour or so, over and over.

So the thing I crave most
is the thing I most fear and despise,
something in the dark that pulls me under
and spits me back out like words
I never said except here. That might be
why sleep does not come easy for me
as it does for you. Because you sleep
just fine, right? Tucked in for the night
and snuggled close and content.

Another night, like so many other nights. Haven’t written about my bête noire in a long time. This morning I couldn’t help but. 

If Only, Only ‘If’

When the light of day follows the sun
to its westward bed, and clouds tuck in
the moon and stars, I sometimes wonder
what it would have been like.
If.
That’s when I see my clearest,
when the distractions of the real
don’t encroach on this vision moment
where the voice in my head echoes the same
sad reverie as perhaps yours might.
If.
That’s why I share this bed with
naught but a weighty conjunction,
a supposition called on account of darkness,
a two-letter regret wrapped in desire
and a vision of you in the not-there.
If.

The Voice

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I must admit to feeling the chill
of a February day, followed by the scorch
of an August afternoon, repeated in
sine wave oscillations, like freezing
and flaming merry-go-round ponies,
when you spoke in my presence
that first time. You wouldn’t direct
your voice to me for quite a while afterward.

When you did, I became an ice cream cone
dipped in warm butterscotch,
inevitably, comfortably a puddle
of gooey sweetness. So odd for one
who spent life dispensing vinegary ripostes
to a bitter world of echoes
rippling one over another,
like a pond’s face in autumn rain.

Your voice became my favorite sweater,
warm, soft, an aural hug bringing me
everyday joy I too soon unraveled,
leaving me cold, frozen to the talk of others.
Their voices raveled into confusing,
cacophonous snarls, tripping and dropping me
into the dank well from which we were lifted
…once.

If you would speak to me one more time,
I’m might feel some similar feelings
to that first time, probably from fear
and embarrassment. Or perhaps deafened
numbness of a man who never listened
to his own words before they snipped
the knitted purls binding us together,
yarn by whispered yarn.

Poem Number Two in my self-imposed quest to express the senses by using a different sense. In this case I used Touch to express Hearing, though admittedly hearing something quite special that the speaker eventually lost to his own inability to listen.